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RFU appoint O'Shea as England's director of performance rugby

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By Reuters
RFU appoint O'Shea as England's director of performance rugby
FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2019 - Pool B - South Africa v Italy - Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa, Shizuoka, Japan - October 4, 2019. Italy head coach Conor O'Shea during the warm up before the match. REUTERS/Edgar Su   -   Copyright  EDGAR SU(Reuters)

(Reuters) – Former Italy coach Conor O’Shea has been appointed as England’s director of performance rugby and will take charge in the New Year, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) said on Friday.

The 49-year-old will look after the leadership, management and strategic direction of the professional game in England and will also work closely with men’s head coach Eddie Jones.

The RFU also said Nigel Melville would leave his role as director of professional rugby.

Former Ireland international fullback O’Shea, who earned 35 caps between 1993-2000, resigned as head coach of Italy earlier this month and said he was thrilled to link up with the World Cup finalists.

“I’m privileged and honoured, it’s an incredible opportunity to join at a really exciting time for English rugby,” O’Shea said in a statement on the RFU website.

O’Shea was previously the director of rugby at Harlequins, guiding the side to the Challenge Cup in his first season (2010-11) and the Premiership title in 2012.

He worked at the RFU as director of regional academies between 2005 and 2008 before joining the English Institute of Sport as national director for two years.

“I’ve spent the last four years in Italy, six at Harlequins and before that 10 years at London Irish, so I feel I know the system pretty well,” O’Shea added.

“There is an exciting vision at the RFU. It’s not just about winning tomorrow, but also about sustaining success and winning long into the future.

“We can look forward to rejuvenating and re-energising the performance pathway to help, support and push England rugby on. As well as our relationships with all stakeholders, it’s about women’s rugby, Sevens, referees and coach development.”

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Alex Richardson)